Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lidge Wins Award but Burrell Hurting

Congratulations to Phillies closer Brad Lidge. He has won the 2008 Comeback Player of the Year Award. He deserved to, what with him being perfect and all. He has 41 saves in as many opportunities. You can't do better if your a closer (shut up K-Rod). he has done exactly what the Phillies have asked him to do: Not blow a save in the red pinstripes.

There is some alarming news for Phillies fans, however. Pat Burrell left practice early today, complaining of back pain. He reportedly took one batting practice swing, and the pain ensued. This is horrible news. Burrell is one of the Phils' top RBI machines, and he might not be able to go tomorrow afternoon in the first game against the Brewers. The Phillies' training staff will check in on his back tomorrow before the came, and see if he can go.

Here are some reactions to Lidge's Comeback Player of the Year Award from the Blogosphere:

Sports Fountainhead: Lidge Wins NL Comeback Player of the Year

The 700 Level: Brad Lidge Comeback Player of the Year

Baseball Digest Daily: Lee, Lidge 2008 Comeback Players

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Phillies 5 Keys to the Series

This will be a tough series for the Phillies. The Milwaukee Brewers are a talented team that definitely has the capability of beating the Phils. Here are five things the Phillies must do if they want to advance to the Championship Series (not in order of importance):

1. Take advantage of the Brewers weaker pitchers
This is an obvious one. The Phillies need to jump on whoever (Yovani Gallardo) starts for the Brew Crew in game one. Because the most dominant pitcher in baseball, C.C. Sabathia (upper left), will be awaiting the Phillies in game two. I know people say his arm is tired because he has been working on short rest, but let's not take a chance.

2. Hit with runners in scoring position
Another obvious one, but something the Phillies failed to do against the Rockies last postseason. They need their big bats (Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell) to drive in runs in the clutch. Rollins and Utley need to get on base to allow them to do that, however.

3.Cole needs to be on his game in game one and beyond
Hamels has been a little unpredictable this season, so he needs to be deadly consistent. As I said, a victory in game one is vital. Hamels needs to be at his best to shut down a powerful Brewers offense that includes Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.

4. Keep the Brewer hitters guessing
Hamels, Myers, and Moyer need to mix up the pitches against the Brewers powerful hitters. You have to throw changeup 3-2. Start off the at bat with a curveball. I don't care. Just don't let the Brewers know what's coming because, with most of the lineup, one swing of the bat can change the game.

5. Get the ball to Lidge
The bullpen needs to try its best to get to Lidge in the ninth unscathed. People will say "Lidge isn't perfect." Well, yes he is (make that 41 for 41). Use only the reliable relief pitchers like Madson and Romero.

Honorable Mentions

Don't use Rudy Seanez
For obvious reasons.

Use Matt Stairs
Because every useless fly ball he hits looks like a homer (I've never seen somebody swing so hard.) He could bring the Phillie fans back into the game if the Brewers start winning.

Win three out of the five games

If you can translate this, I will be amazed.

Eagles Suffer Loss

Watching the Eagles in the last two games was complete torture. McNabb didn't look good on Sunday night against a old and injured Bears D. That scared me and many other devout followers of the Philadelphia Eagles. He completed 25 passes out of 41 attempts.

The Eagles didn't deserve to win the game last night. They deserved to lose 24-20 to a mediocre Chicago team (and that's exactly what they did). They missed multiple chances to score a touchdown when they were in the red zone. They had first and goal from the one or two yard line, and they still didn't score that long-awaited touchdown. Sickening.

They made many mistakes. Desean Jackson had another "rookie moment" when he dropped a punt. He also didn't go after a punt (he let it bounce), and that pinned the Eagles deep into their own territory. He has been returning punts since his time at Cal, but he looks like he never even understood how to.

David Akers missed two kicks as well. When Akers was at his best, he would have nailed those two kicks and the Eagles would have won the game. I wouldn't trust Akers with a kick over 35 yards out, let a lone a long field goal to win an important playoff game.

That was a glimpse at what the Eagles offense is without the savior Brian Westbrook. They had no running game with Buckhalter. Without him, they literally had no running game because of a strange lack of ball carrier.

I am sorry to say that this team does not look like a playoff team. They make too many mistakes (usually at vital points in the game). They looked especially terrible in this game.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mets Collapse to Say Goodbye to Shea

The New York Mets have just eliminated themselves from playoff contention, in the last game at Shea Stadium no less! The Milwaukee Brewers will be the NL Wild Card team, not the Mets. The Phils will take on the Brewers in the first round of the playoffs.

The Mets have again failed to make the postseason. Boy, would I hate to be a Mets' fan right now! All signs pointed to the Mets making the playoffs somehow, but that was not to be. Their bullpen was their demise yet again, giving up two key Marlin homers. The Marlins won 4-2.

So the Phillies will be taking on the Brew Crew. I would rather have them take on the Dodgers, but the Brewers aren't that much better. One advantage the Phillies will have is Cole Hamels. Hamels will be able to start game one, while the Brewers ace (C.C. Sabathia) will not be able to pitch game one. No way he would pitch on two games rest.

The Phillies and Brewers both have powerful lineups. I think the Phillies may have a slight edge in this category. Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are great hitters but they are streaky. Ryan Howard is streaking too. But to the Phillies delight, he is on a extremely hot streak. Don't forget about Chase Utley, J-Roll, and the surprising Jayson Werth.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hull City?

This is my first article on the Premier League (English soccer) this season but I will start writing many more. In case you didn't know, I follow the Premier League club Arsenal. I watched their debacle on television this morning on Fox Soccer Channel and it was downright disgusting for any fan of Arsenal.

First-place Arsenal was taking on a Hull City club fresh from promotion. Many experts had Arsenal beating Hull City by at least three goals, some said six wouldn't be out of range. The game was at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal has only lost one game since moving into the Emirates.

2-1 Hull City. That was the final score. Premier league titan Arsenal going down to Hull City. Hull City had been surprising, sprinting out to seventh place. They drew Liverpool at home as well. Do we have a sleeper on our hands?

Arsenal had so many chances to score late in the game. Kolo Toure and Robbie Van Persie both blew chances in the final minutes to seal the victory for Hull. Nobody had even scored against Arsenal at the Emirates this season. Yet Hull City goes and scores two goals without a second thought and get the three points.

I've seen Arsenal play this kind of game before, but not against so weak an opponent. Sometimes it seems as if Arsenal is lulled to sleep by its own play, thinking they will win the game easily. But then an underdog goes in and takes the game from right under their noses without them even stirring.

I hadn't even heard that much at all about Hull City since I've been following soccer. But I'm sure not going to forget them now.

NL East Champs!!!!!

The Phillies have just won their second consecutive NL East Title with their win earlier today. The Phillies will welcome October baseball once again. I was happy (but not surprised that the Phillies jumped out to an early lead. But the end of the game, now that was nerve racking!

Brad Lidge, thank god you got that final double play ball. I thought that ball was going to squirt through the middle and the National were going to take away the Phillies moment of glory. Jimmy Rollins stopped all that with his athletic play and toss to Utley, who then majestically threw the ball to the September hero Ryan Howard. And if he doesn't win his second MVP Award.

I had been checking the Mets-Marlins score all afternoon on ESPN.com, and I had been disappointed by the Mets victory. But that's all moot now. The Fightins' are IN.

Yes, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Pat the Bat, J-Roll and all the rest, you can now dream of a Fall Classic because I know everyone in Philly will. You must do better than you did in Colorado one year ago. A sweep equals failure.

Phillie fans (including me will not tolerate an early playoff exit. Last year we were just happy to still be playing but this year we want success in the postseason.

Let's Go Phils!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The End of the Millen "Error"

The Detroit Lions have finally fired team president Matt Millen. Millen made the Lions one of the most futile teams in American sports. He spent seven years ruining the Lions. The Lions are 31-84 during Millen's tenure.

Millen was criticized as one of the worst drafters in the NFL. For some reason, he believed that drafting talented receivers in the opening rounds would help his team succeed. You would think that a team of the Lions (lack of) caliber would draft a quarterback that they could build a winning team with. Millen drafted wideout Charles Rodgers with the second overall pick in the 2003 Draft. He then went on to pick Roy Williams in '04 and Calvin Johnson in '07.

The Detroit fans started to get restless (to say the lest) with Millen. Hundreds of fans brought signs to the games saying "Fire Millen." And with good reason, because the best record the Lions had with Millen was 5-11.

But still Millen stayed and lost, stayed and lost, and stayed and lost. If I were a Lions' fan, I would've questioned the sanity of the owner William Clay Ford. The Lions turned into one of the most notorious bottom-feeders in professional sports. They were on level with the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, and the Tampa Bay Rays (until this season).

This may be the first step in the bettering of the Detroit Lions. No, they won't be good the rest of this season, or next season. or probably the next season after that. But they can't get much worst.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yankee Stadium

Tonight will be the last baseball game at Yankee Stadium. It is a sad day for baseball and its fans. I don't care if you hate the Yankees, like them, or just plain don't care about them. This stadium is arguably the most historic in the country (possibly the world). I had the pleasure of visiting Yankee Stadium just last month. It was my first (and last) time there. The pictures in this post are pictures I took at Yankee stadium.

Yankee Stadium was constructed in 1923 and redone in 1973. I'm not going to give you a entire history of the Stadium, but I will mention some things. The Eagles even had a great moment at the Stadium. They clinched the 1960 NFL Championship on Chuck Bendarik's layout of Frank Gifford at Yankee Stadium.

When you think of the kind of players that competed there, you'll be amazed. Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, and Derek Jeter have all called it home. I know that people say that it is not even the same stadium because of the rendition in 1973, but I don't believe that it is that different. I saw that home plate was moved like ten feet, but that doesn't matter.

If you've ever been to Yankee Stadium, you know why they are closing it down. The playing field is beautiful, but the inside is cramped and falling apart. When I visited the Stadium, I was stuck in the hallway inside the stadium for almost an hour. There is absolutely no parking there either. Another question that comes into people's mind is, "Why don't they just keep it there and let the Yankees move across the street?" Well, that also has to do with the parking. The Steinbrenners are going to turn it into a parking area.

Everyone who has ever visited Yankee Stadium will miss the majesty of it. Just the fact that you are watching a game on the same place that Babe Ruth and the other greats played is amazing. I love how the park is right in the middle of the Bronx. That's one thing I don't like about the Philadelphia sports complexes. They are away from everything in a desert of concrete, barren parking areas.

Goodbye and Goodnight Yankee Stadium. All Will Miss You.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jackson Better Learn

I'm sorry I haven't wrote about the Cowboy game but I just didn't have a chance earlier this week. Plus, I wanted to let it sink in for a few days before I wrote about it. It was one of the most exciting Eagles games in the last two seasons. The Eagles did look good in the game. McNabb just made a simple mistake on that fumble on a hand off to Westbrook.

But I didn't write this article to give a report of the game, I wanted to talk about Desean Jackson's touchdown blunder. People say, "It's just a rookie mistake." No, it's not a rookie mistake. If I was a rookie in the NFL, and in only my second game, I would make sure I got across that goal line before I even thought about celebrating. I don't see any other rookies making mistakes like that.

I was so infuriated by Jackson's antics that I might have benched him for the rest of the game if I was Andy Reid. I know he is their best receiver, but he has to learn that stupid moves like that will not be tolerated in the NFL (this isn't UCLA). Get that cocky smirk off your face Jackson, start playing the game like a professional, not a selfish child like a certain Cowboy wideout.

If I was Andy Reid I would have Jackson come into practice on Tuesday at 4:00am and tell him to sprint the entire field ten times. That might get the cockiness out of his thick cranium.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Phillies Alive in Both Races

"I want October!"

The Phillies have put themselves in good position to sweep the Brewers. They beat them in the first game of the double header 7-3, and are currently beating them 5-0 in the fourth inning. Here are the current standings: the Mets are have a 1.5 games lead on the Phillies in the division, and the Brewers have a 1 game lead in the wild card. If the Phillies were to win these game (knock on wood), they would be tied for the lead in the wild card and be just a game out in the division. Here we come Mets.

The Mets did lose today, a great sign for the Phillies. It seems as if everything is coming together for the Fightin' Phils. Ryan Howard is on fire, along with Jimmy Rollins. Cole Hamels pitched well the other night. Even Joe Blanton pitched well today.

Bring on October!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Monday Night Showdown

The Eagles are taking a nice trip to Dallas to visit the Cowboys (Cowgirls if you prefer). I know it's only week two and the games don't mean too much, but the Eagles would be in good shape if they can come up with a win late Monday night in Dallas. This will be a tough and hard-fought game, as all games between these two teams are.

I find it funny that the Cowboys obnoxiously call themselves 'America's team'. Their top wideout is a psychopath (T. Booooo). Pacman Jones is a criminal, and so is Tank (full of guns) Johnson. Yes, because that really represents America. Cowboy fans may say the Eagles aren't the cleanest team in the world, but then again we don't call ourselves America's team.

All the papers in Philly are talking about what could have happened had T.O. stuck around. I'm just plain tired of it. He left Philly in 2006 and people are still talking about it like it happened last season. The amazing part about it is that Donavan McNabb is still entertaining the question. If I was McNabb I would give a dull Andy Reid answer. Something like, "We're only talking about this season."

There's a lot of hype surrounding this game (mostly because it's on ESPN, and you know what happens when they get a hold of something). But the question is who will win the game (oh yeah, there's a game going on in the middle of all this hype)? I'm nervous. I say the game is wide open, and which ever team that comes out better from the locker room will win. But that's like saying whoever wins will score more points. And, although I'll be rooting for the Eagles, I think it's a tossup.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Eagles Crush Rams

Everybody thought the Eagles were going to win. Oddly enough, they did win, blowing out the hapless St. Louis Rams 38-3. Donavan McNabb was outstanding, throwing for 361 yards and three touchdowns. But let's not waste time giving stats. If you want stats look at ESPN.com for the box score. Let's talk about Desean Jackson.

The birth of a star. Well, maybe not, but Desean Jackson (upper left) did have a great debut. He had over a hundred yards receiving. He had some AMAZING catches. I think he will emerge as the Eagles top wideout in the coming games. I know that Andy Reid doesn't believe in rookie wideouts, but he won't be able to deny Jackson.

McNabb wasn't to shabby either. He usually starts out the season very sharp. One thing I think Andy Reid does well is prepare his team for the season. The defense looked great, allowing only three points. Asante Samuel had a great debut as an Eagle. This team looks great.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

NFL Preview

Here is how the NFL season will shake out in my point of view (records next to team names):
Playoff teams in bold


NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
2. Dallas Cowboys 11-5
3. New York Giants 10-6
4. Washington Redskins 8-8

NFC North

1.Minnesota Vikings 11-5
2.Green Bay Packers 9-7
3.Detroit Lions 6-10
4.Chicago Bears 5-11

NFC South

1.New Orleans Saints 12-4
2.Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
3.Carolina Panthers 8-8
4.Atlanta Falcons 3-13

NFC West

1.Seattle Seahawks 10-6
2.San Francisco 49ers 7-9
3.St. Louis Rams 4-12
4.Arizona Cardinals 4-12


AFC East

1. New England Patriots 13-3
2. New York Jets 10-6
3. Buffalo Bills 7-9
4. Dolphins 13-3

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-6
2. Cleveland Browns 10-6
3. Cincinnati Bengals 6-10
4. Baltimore Ravens 3-13

AFC South

1. Jacksonville Jaguars 11-5
2. Indianapolis Colts 10-6
3. Tennessee Titans 6-10
4. Houston Texans 5-11

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos 12-4
2. San Diego Chargers 11-5
3. Kansas City Chiefs 5-11
4. Oakland Raiders 4-12

AFC Champion: Jacksonville Jaguars

NFC Champion: Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl Champion: Philadelphia Eagles

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NFC South Preview

Here are my predictions for the AFC South. For NFC East and AFC East predictions, scroll down.

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints

2007 record: 7-9

Projected record: 12-4

Team overview: The New Orleans Saints should have a good team. Then again, they should have had a good season last year two. Drew Brees is a great pocket passer. They have two good backs in Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. They need Bush (upper left) to have a breakout season. Marques Colston is a great target for Brees. Jeremy Shockey is a nice addition at tight end.

The Saints greatly improved their defense, which was ranked 26th in the league last season. Scott Fujita was a tackling machine last season, recording 95 tackles. Jonathan Vilma is a good middle linebacker. The Saints hope rookie Sedrick Ellis can make a (positive) impact on the defensive line. Randall Gay should help a pass defense that was ranked 30th last year.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2007 record: 9-7

Projected record: 10-6

Team overview: Jeff Garcia led the Buccs to a playoff birth last year, and he very well might repeat his performance this year. Garcia is a proven winner. Even if he gets injured, the Buccs still have Luke McCown and Brian Griese. The Buccs are stacked at running back, with Earnest Graham, Warrick Dunn, and Micheal Bennett.

The Buccs defense is as nasty as ever. Ronde Barber is still a great D-back. Their linebackers may be unmatched. Derrick Brooks recorded over 100 tackles last season and is at the top of his game. Barrett Ruud had 114 tackles last season.

3. Carolina Panthers

2007 record: 7-9

Projected record: 8-8

Team overview: I think Jake Delhomme is going to have a good year. But DeAngelo Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart are too inexperienced at running back. The Panthers will miss Steve Smith in two of those first three games he's suspended for. The toughies are at San Diego and at Minnesota. Although, Muhsin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett are still decent receivers. The offensive line is questionable.

Coach John Fox better hope that Julius Peppers can return to form. John Beason is a good linebacker. The rest of the defense is suspect.

4. Atlanta Falcons

2007 record: 4-12

Projected record: 3-13

Team overview: The Falcons will start rookie Matt Ryan at quarterback. Starting a rookie at quarterback, no matter who it is, isn't good. Their best backup is Chris Redman, another bad sign. They have unproven Micheal Turner at running back. Roddy White is an average wideout.

Keith Brooking and Lawyer Milloy are their only proven defensive players. 'Nough said.

AFC East Preview

Here are my prediction for the AFC East:

AFC East

1.New England Patriots

2007 record: 16-0

Projected record: 13-3

Team overview: The Patriots still have a very good team. They should easily win this division. Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the league. Randy Moss is the best wide receiver. Wes Welker lead the league in receptions last season. What more do I have to say. The Patriots offensive line may be the best in the league.

Their defense is aging quickly however. Tedy Bruschi is not the player he once was. Rodney Harrison is still one of the most feared safeties in the league, but how much longer can he still perform at a top level. Mike Vrabel is a tackling machine. Look for him to do the same this season.

2. New York Jets

2007 record: 4-12

Projected record: 10-6

Team overview: This team really struggled last season, but I think they can turn it around. Brett Farve (above) will play consistent enough if he can stay healthy. Running back Thomas Jones had a disappointing season last year, but he will better with the new-look offensive line. The Jets added Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca and Daimen Woody to the O-line. Lavernues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are good wide receivers.

The Jets also upgraded their defensive line. Calvin Pace (6 1/2 sacks last season) and Kris Jenkins (2 1/2 sacks) will get to the quarterback in a hurry. Free safety Kerry Rhodes will emerge as a top defensive back this season.

3. Buffalo Bills

2007 record: 7-9

Projected record: 7-9

Team overview: The Bills would be a playoff team if they had a decent quarterback. But since they're going with Trent Edwards, they'll finish below .500. The rest of the offense is pretty good. Marshawn Lynch had a breakout rookie season, and should carry the offense this season. Lee Evans is their only good wideout.

The Bills acquired linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who is excellent rushing the passer. The Bills overall defense is average.

4. Miami Dolphins

2007 record: 1-15

Projected record: 3-13

Team overview: The Dolphins lost their two top players (Jason Taylor and Zack Thomas), so how are they going to get two more wins than last year. Well, they definitely get an upgrade at quarterback with Chad Pennington. They have a good 1-2 punch at running back, with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. If both those injury-prone go down early, the Dolphins will be lucky to win a game. Ted Ginn is their top wideout, that is NOT a good thing.

Joey Porter is their only proven defensive player. The rest of the defense is a bit shaky, to say the least.

Monday, September 1, 2008

NFC East Preview

Over the next couple of days I will preview each division in the NFL. I have predicted EVERY NFL game this season and have projected each team's record. Today, I will preview the NFC East division.

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Last season's record: 8-8

Projected record: 12-4

Team overview: 12-4 may be a bit too high for our Eagles, but I think we can pull it off. The NFC East is by far the toughest division in the East. Donovan McNabb is healthy and ready to unload on opposing defenses. Brian Westbrook is arguably the best running back east of the Mississippi. The wide receiving core is below average, but every other aspect of the team is above. The defense is excellent. I think the young linebackers will mature into fine young players this season. Brian Dawkins (upper right) can be dominant if he can stay healthy. Their cornerback depth is unmatched. Sheldon Brown, Asante Samuel, and Lito Shepard will give the opposing offense headaches.

2. Dallas Cowboys

Last season's record: 13-3

Projected record: 11-5

Team overview: The Dallas Cowboys won this division last season and will likely contend for a Super Bowl again this season. Tony Romo is a solid quarterback, but can struggle in big games (or be distracted by Jessica Simpson). T.O. is a top wideout and Jason Witten is a good tight end. Marion Barber is set to have a big season, and rookie Felix Jones will help him carry that load. Dallas' defense is as stingy as ever with the pick up of Zach Thomas. He will join DeMarcus Ware, Roy Williams, and Terrence Newman on the defensive side of the ball. Why won't the Cowboys finish as well as they did in 2007. I think it's because they have too many distractions. I mean c'mon, T.O., Pacman, Tank Johnson, Jessica Simpson, owner Jerry Jones' constant pressure. That doesn't mean they won't make the playoffs.

3. New York Giants

Last season's record: 10-6

Projected record this season: 10-6

Team overview: Most people are underestimating the defending Super Bowl champs. I think they will do as well as the did last season even without key players like Osi Umenyiora, Jeremy Shockey, and Micheal Strahan. Eli Manning will mature as a quarterback and will not throw as many interceptions. Brandon Jacobs isn't a top back, but he is still very good. He plays a bruising style of football, which causes him to get injured a lot. Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, and company make up a fine receiving core. The Giants did the right right thing in trading Shockey, but Eli will miss his big body darting across the field. On the defensive side of the ball, Justin Tuck is their best pass rusher. He recorded an even 10 sacks last season. The defense will suffer because Umenyiora and Strahan are missing.

4. Washington Redskins

Last season's record: 9-7

Projected record: 8-8

Team overview: In most divisions, 8-8 would put you near the top. But in the NFC East, it nets you last place. I think Jason Campbell will have a good season, but he is clearly not a top quarterback. Clinton Portis will excel if he can stay healthy. Sanatana Moss is a decent receiver, but I believe he is overrated. Chris Cooley is an underrated tight end, however. Their defense is good but was devastated at hearing that Jason Taylor may miss some time with an injury.